Ibori Loot: Again, Babalakin Fails To Appear In Court

By Nurudeen Oyewole, Lagos

(Daily Trust) Babalakin who is currently receiving treatment at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) is being prosecuted by Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions (EFCC) on a 27 count charge alongside Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Ltd, Bi-Courtney Ltd and Renix Nigeria Ltd over N4.7 billion fraudulent transfer the convicted former governor of Delta State, James Ibori under the guise of purchasing a Challenger Jet Aircraft.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, Babalakin new counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), informed the court of two applications pending before it, dated December 11, 2012  seeking adjournment of the trial and the court to admit the defendant (first defendant) to bail.

The counsel also drew the of the court to the occupation of the hospital by EFCC operatives in what he said was against the directive of the court asking EFCC to verify his client’s health status.

But in a swift reaction, counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) said the alleged occupation was meant to put the on alert to avoid James Ibori’s situation.
He also  the court  time to respond to the two applications filed before it by the defendants as they were only served on him on Tuesday’s evening.

Meanwhile, there was a mild drama earlier in the day when the first counsel representing Babalakin, Chief E.O Shotunde announced his withdrawal from the suit.

At the last sitting of the court, it was Shotunde who told the court of Babalakin’s admission at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) over an undisclosed ailment. He had  also informed  the court presided over by Justice Adeniji Onigbanjo  Babalakin’s health deteriorated immediately after he appeared before the EFCC office in Abuja on the 26 November, 2012 for questioning.

But at the resumption of hearing on Wednesday, Sofunde took everybody by surprise when he  announced  his withdrawal from the defence team. According to the legal practitioner, the decision to withdraw from the suit was contained in  an application dated December 4, 2012. He however insisted his reasons were personal.

Justice Onigbanjo in response promptly granted his request for withdrawal from the suit and also adjourned till January 17, 2013 for hearing of the pending applications and possible arraignment of the defendants.(Source: Daily Trust)


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